Coke Ovens Cliff

  • Grade context: AU
  • Approach time: 20-40 minutes
  • Photos: 18
  • Ascents: 1,493




A north facing cliff opposite Old Baldy. Great winter cragging.

Note walking up Western Gully is the quickest way to the Coke Ovens Upper cliffline. It's about 200-300m R of the Sizzler sector - walk straight up hill from the car.

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Access issues inherited from New South Wales and ACT

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From Newnes ford the river and walk or 4wd east to the Newnes Industrial Ruins. Continue walking east to the Coke Ovens ruins, from the middle of the Coke Ovens a steep climbers' track leads up to the cliff near Cactus.

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Ethic inherited from Wolgan Valley

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Grade Route

A route marred by poor bolting. Has now returned to moss where it counts halfway. Take a full rack of cams. Take care.

FA: Brett Miller & Jeff Allwood

This soaring corner was an audacious effort for 1971. Great climbing but most rap off after pitch 2 at carrots with maillons to avoid choss on pitch 3. 38 m to ground.

  1. 20m (18) Hands to offwidth corner with unique slopey rails to a cushy belay in cave.

  2. 20m (21) Overhanging fingercrack corner, needs a few 0.3 to 0.5 cams.

  3. ??m (??)

Superb 2 pitch face climb on mixed gear. Mostly bolted bolt plates needed. Starts at 8m high crack 20 m right of ITNM. Up crack, then follow 7 bolts right to flake via hole, and up to DRBB 30m from ground. Third bolt is difficult to clip. Follow 9 B for pitch two to abseil anchor

FA: Giles Bradbury, 2000

Thin face climbing up the superb clean sweep of rock right of The Righteous Brothers

FA: Martin Brown, 2 Aug 2015

Face 5m left of Publish or Perish. Bridge off tree then 5 stainless carrots followed by small to medium natural gear in vertical runnels. At small ledge escape left and up to natural belay. Direct finish difficult to protect, so more bolts and possibly lower offs to be added.

FA: Ben Maddison, Brad Carmady & Greg Mortimer, 21 Jul 2012

Blunt arete on mid level cliff above Body Odour. 9 stainless carrots to ubolt lower offs.

FA: Ben Maddison, Brad Carmady & Greg Mortimer, Sep 2011

1 16
2 17
3 20
4 16

A mammoth line. The first pitch is the quintessential corner crack - with great pro and moves and can be done as a classic pitch in its own right. Pitch 2 has some moments finding way through hanging blocks to nice exposed seats on top of blocks under roof with bomber belay gear a move higher. Pitch 3 is exhilarating and a must do adventure. Pitch 4 starts up a clean corner crack , onto a ledge, pull over the steep bulge and up to a nice belay.

Rap beta: Using the tree with slings, from the top a 50m rap to the top of P1. Another 20m rap from there to the ground.

FA: Pete Giles, Keith Bell & John Fantini, 1974

FFA: Roland Pauligk & Pete Canning, 1975

Up the beautiful hand crack corner then easily to thread and piton belay.

The arete / slab just right of 'The Wars Of The Roses', ending at the same 1st pitch belay. Hard start, then rapidly eases off.

The first climb to be put up at the Coke Ovens.

Start 12m right of Organ Grinder Variant at small twin corners.

  1. 27m (14**) Up easily to big tree at foot of crack. Follow crack directly up to 3-stemmed tree on good ledge & belay on tree.

  2. 33m (13) Easily up into cave. Move right onto arete, then directly up crack to large tree in crack, Around tree without killing your belayer by dropping rubble, up arete and wall on right to tree belay.

Set by John Dennis & Dave Massam, 1969

Up and right a bit to a rotten cave. Up left edge of cave to a break below a roof. Move left and swing around roof to a corner. Up to glory

FA: Andrew Penney & John Wolgan, 1986

Beautiful looking orange wall up top. Same start as Barrel Organ.

Pitch 1: 35m, Grade AU 18. Take medium cams, wires and bolt plates.

Climb 6m to a ledge (good pro). Bouldery move to get on the slabby face (cairn is establish to step on, high left foot). Follow the line of carrot bolts which can be run out, keep your eye out for any placements. Step right for a semi hanging 2BB.

Pitch 2: 30m, Grade AU 20

Hug the arete for the first few moves, climb up and don't forget to admire the might chossy crack roof of "Virgin of the Ridiculous". Thin moves to the left lead to some questionable rock which provides ample rest before the real fun begins (crux, fixed hanger). Pretty thin and sustained afterwards (carrot bolts and cams).


Rap 1: 50m from the two carrot bolts at the top, they have permanently established bolt plates and locking carabiners on them. Land on the big ledge next to the huge tree.

Rap 2: 10m to the ground. Use the tree as an anchor.

FA: Glen Lewin & Wade Stevens, 1999

Start up Virgin on the Ridiculous to a sandy ledge, continue up to a bolt then traverse around the arete past two carrots to belay on Flying a Kite.

Mixed route on carrots. Take many bolt plates (11!) plus medium-sized cams. To access climb Harlem, Mother's Drugs or Virgin Flight.

Mixed climbing, three carrots and DRBB. Wires on the first flake, committing move to carrot, then easy up funky feature with threads and carrots all the way. Don't need any cams. Does need a bolt to protect the crux at the start. Retro-bolt of an old death route, should have been retro'd properly.

1 18 21m
2 18 15m
3 18 30m
4 16 20m

Stem and crack climb your way to glory.

Start: Start 6m R of 'Agent Orange' at initial 'C' in a cave with a fine corner crack leading out of the top.

  1. 21m (18) Up steep finger crack corner to ledge. Belay on Cams, wires.

  2. 15m (18) Continue up thin crack and overhang to ledge and belay behind the tree.

  3. 30m (18) Follow the R-facing corner to large bulbous tree. Up the dirty slot behind to a good ledge.

  4. 12m (16) Up corner to ledge. Step left to Rap anchor or continue to the top.

Descent: Abseil 40m to a small ledge with two ring bolts just left of pitch 2 belay, then abseil 35m to the ground.

FA: (13M3): Keith Royce & Paul Edwards, 1971

  1. 18m (19) Follow the right facing corner to a ledge with a thread belay.

  2. 13m (19) Up the overhanging corner to a tricky move to reach the arete, belay on a small ledge.

  3. 21m (16) Continue up the crack and corner to a ledge. Belay from trees.

Descent: Abseil 49 metres from the trees.

Start marked DC 7m left of Grunter corner.

P1 - 40m (14). Straight up wall (8 carrots and a couple of small to medium cams). Veer right at last bolt to small ledge and 3BB.

P2 - 20m (11) Up slab (2BR) and wide crack above then right to good ledge. Multi BB and chains at top of Dan the Bulldog P2.

FFA: Andrew Penney & Carl-Jean Jagusch, 1986

Straight up wall (8 carrots and a couple of small to medium cams). Stop at chains at 30m and lower back to the deck.

Originally led with a 120 foot rope and two pieces of gear - the tree at 10m and a piton bashed in a hole (removed on second). Andrew Penney unknowingly bolted a similar line going straight up, 'Death-bed Confession'. An ascent of Sod in the original style is no longer possible but its description is preserved below. Start 4m left of Grunter at the foot of an easy angled face (Sod Wall).

  1. 45m (13) Up wall (tree runner at 10m) then up trending slightly left to arete and up to cave. Peg belay.

  2. 15m Up the arete to tree anchor.

  3. 24m Out onto ledge to the left, around nose and up to top. Tree anchor.

FA: Keith Royce, David Massam & Les Ormrod, 1969

Start below the tree. First pitch (15) is 40m with 7 bolts. Runout to 2 rusty bolts right by each other not far from the tree, and then 5 above the tree. A 2 bolt belay leads into the 2nd 20m pitch (17) with 4 bolts and a 2.5 friend. The bolts are not all easy to spot. Chains and ring on ledge.

Follow corner crack to abseil sling on tree

Fantastic hand crack.

Start: At the crack 3 m R of Grunter.

  1. 30m (19) Overcome the overhang then jamb your way to the hearts of millions. Now has rings in addition to the traditional tree anchor on large ledge.

Most don't bother with the remaining two pitches.

  1. 30m (-) Up dirty chimney.

  2. 21m (-) Up corners to top

FA: Mike Law & Pete Taylor, 1974

All the old carrots have now been replaced with rings. This now provides a very convenient awesome single pitch route with rings at the first belay to rap off or continue up the two upper pitches.

One of the classics of the cliff. Varied climbing.

Start: At marked \\\\'MM\\\\' at large flake crack.

  1. 25m (16) Up flake to top of pedestal. 3BB.

  2. 20m (18) Up wall diagonally L to BR. Continue diagonally L (poor pro) easily to ledge (feel free to add a bolt) then up to ledge with a small tree and 2 rings .

  3. 20m (17) Up to ledge and across 8m L to ledge then up slab and groove on R (2BR) to stance at base of L-facing corner with a small tree and 2BB.

  4. 25m (18) Up corner to cruxy top-out. Tree anchor.

Descent = rap 50 m from slim tree 10 m East (R facing valley; look out for loose rock)to large ledge (top of Sizzler) and rap rings. 40 m rap.

FA: Mike Law & Ian Lewis, 1974

  1. 18m (18) Aesthetic fingertips corner up to a bolted anchor in a sandy cave. Most only do this good pitch.

  2. 21m (-)

  3. 30m (-)

  4. 30m (-)

FA: (14M2) Ian Patterson & Warwick Williams, 1970

  1. 34m (15) Up lovely corner to two bolt belay/lower off. Takes many #2 & 3 camalots. Watch rope length when descending off first pitch! You can make it on a single 60m doubled if you swing over towards decline and fall.

  2. 9m (17)

  3. 13m (-)

FA: Keith Royce & Don Klees, 1971

  1. 25m (20) Awesome slick hand crack after you surmount the initial two metres of choss. Super duper worthwhile! Bolts and tat to lower off.

  2. 25m (-)

FA: (20M0) Joe Friend & Dick Hain, 1973

The face between the arete of Our Way, and the corner of Back Off (perpendicular to Microcosm). Straight up the face, avoiding the corner/crack and the arete. Thin, balancy, technical moves of boldly spaced bolts. Finish up the arete on the right side of the face (formed when Back Off becomes a chimney).

Black/Grey painted carrot bolts.

FA: A. Mcclain

A historic classic. Hot Henry Barber climbed this and The Weirding Wall in a day to produce the first two 22's in The Wolgan (and arguably NSW).

  1. 15m (22) Up Sandy corner. Traverse left under roof with hard moves towards the lip, then up the layback corner to 2 x carrot bolt anchor at small stance, with in-situ improvised rap-point (as of 2018).

  2. 40m+ (??) Up sandy V-groove system with sections of clean climbing to the top.

Starts at the carrot-bolt belay at the end of P1 (22) of Flashpoint.

Up sandy/loose corner as for Flashpoint P2 to carrot bolt out right. Traverse directly across carrot bolt to seam crack, and up left-leaning seam-crack for 30m via 4 more carrots and lots of fiddly gear. Be careful of loose blocks.

2 x carrot anchor on small ledge below topout, with in-situ improvised rap-point (as of 2018). 50m rap to ground.


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